Troy Gregory

Rottweiler vs Boerboel: Comprehensive Breed Comparison


Rottweilers and Boerboels are both large, powerful dog breeds known for their protective instincts and loyal nature. Choosing between them as a family pet can be a challenge, as both breeds have unique traits and characteristics to consider. By comparing various criteria such as physical appearance, temperament, training, and care requirements, potential pet owners can make an informed decision about which breed is better suited for their family and lifestyle.

Rottweilers originated from Germany and are known for their muscular build, intelligence, and loyalty. They were initially bred as working dogs, specifically for herding and guarding duties. Boerboels, on the other hand, were bred in South Africa to protect homesteads from wild animals and intruders. They are also large and highly intelligent, with a strong and muscular build that enables them to efficiently perform their protective roles.

While both breeds have a lot in common, there are fundamental differences between them that can impact their suitability for certain households. By carefully weighing the pros and cons of each breed, families can ensure that they are selecting the right dog for their specific needs, lifestyle, and living arrangements.

Key Takeaways

  • Rottweilers and Boerboels are both large, loyal breeds with protective instincts
  • Each breed has unique traits, such as the Rottweiler’s working dog background and the Boerboel’s South African origin
  • Comparing physical appearance, temperament, training, and care requirements can help potential pet owners decide which breed is best for their family

Breed Overview


As we mentioned in a previous article, the Rottweiler is a large and powerful breed, known for its intelligence and loyalty. With a life expectancy of 9 to 10 years, Rottweilers are medium-maintenance dogs with a medium shed level. Their muscular build and strong presence make them excellent candidates for guard dog roles.

Origin: Rottweilers are believed to have originated in Germany, where they served as drover dogs to herd cattle and guard property 2.

Size: This breed typically stands between 22-27 inches in height and weighs between 80-135 pounds, with males being slightly larger than females.

Temperament: The Rottweiler’s character can be described as confident and brave, with an innate desire to protect its family. They are excellent with their family members but may be reserved around strangers, making socialization very important 3.


The Boerboel, also known as the South African Mastiff- from their Boers, is another large and powerful breed, particularly known for its protective instincts. With a slightly shorter life expectancy of 8-12 years, Boerboels require a moderate amount of exercise and grooming.

Origin: Boerboels have a rich history in South Africa, where they were bred primarily for the purpose of guarding farms and homesteads.

Size: Boerboels typically stand between 22-27 inches tall and weigh between 110-200 pounds, with males being larger than females.

Temperament: This breed is loyal, friendly, and naturally protective of its family. Boerboels are known to be excellent with children and make great family pets. However, they can be territorial and may not be the best choice for first-time dog owners or those unfamiliar with assertive breeds 6.

OriginGermanySouth Africa
Size80-135 pounds110-200 pounds
Life Span9-10 years8-12 years
TraitsConfident, courageousLoyal, protective

Physical Comparison

Size and Weight

Both Rottweiler and Boerboel breeds are large dogs, but they differ when it comes to their size and weight. A typical Rottweiler stands at a height of 22-27 inches and weighs between 80-140 pounds. On the other hand, the Boerboel tends to be heftier, with a height of 22-27 inches and a weight of 150-200 pounds1.


Appearance-wise, the Rottweiler and the Boerboel show different characteristics.

Rottweilers have a robust and powerful build, with a dense and medium-length coat that is usually black with tan markings. Their heads are broad with a rounded forehead and well-developed muscles. Rottweilers also possess a confident and steady expression, which adds to their overall appealing impression.

On the contrary, Boerboels exhibit a more muscular and massive frame. They have a short, smooth coat that comes in various shades, with breeders aiming for a single color of light tan and no white. Boerboels feature a broad and sizable head, similar to the Boxer, but are comparatively heavier and larger. Their overall appearance exudes strength and confidence.

Temperament and Behavior

Rottweiler’s Temperament

Rottweilers are known for their loving, loyal, and confident nature. They are intelligent and require proper training for the best outcome. With a medium energy level, Rottweilers enjoy physical activities and mental stimulation, making them great companions for active owners. However, if left untrained or unsocialized, they can become overly protective and aggressive. It is important to provide them with consistent training from an early age.

In terms of family compatibility, Rottweilers are known to be good with children. However, it is crucial to supervise their interactions, especially during playtime, as their size and strength can accidentally cause harm.

Boerboel’s Temperament

Boerboels, also known as South African Mastiffs, possess a confident, intelligent, and assertive temperament. They have a very high energy level and require regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. This breed tends to be a good match for those experienced with large, powerful dogs, as they can be overwhelming for new or inexperienced owners.

When it comes to family life, Boerboels are protective and often form strong bonds with their human family members. They have an innate guarding instinct, making them excellent watchdogs. However, their assertive nature can create challenges when interacting with other pets or strangers. Early socialization and training are crucial for a well-balanced Boerboel.

Here is a brief comparison of some key temperament traits of both breeds:

TemperamentLoving, LoyalConfident, Assertive
Energy LevelMediumVery High
Family CompatibilityGood with childrenProtective
Suitable for New OwnersNot idealDiscouraged

In conclusion, both Rottweilers and Boerboels have unique temperaments and behaviors that make them suitable for different lifestyles and home environments. As long as they are given proper training, socialization, and care, these breeds can become loving and protective companions to their families.

Training and Care


Both the Rottweiler and the Boerboel are known for their strong and assertive personalities, which makes it essential to ensure proper training. The Rottweiler, in particular, is a loving and loyal dog known for its ability to work well with herding and cattle driving. The Boerboel, on the other hand, originates from South Africa and was initially bred for hunting and guarding purposes. Thus, effective training for these dogs is a must to establish boundaries and ensure they coexist peacefully with family members, particularly children.

  • Consistency and Positive Reinforcement: Employ consistent training methods with positive reinforcement, such as treats, praise, and playtime, for both breeds.
  • Socialization: Early socialization by exposing them to various people, animals, and environments is essential to develop well-mannered and confident dogs.
  • Obedience Training: Enrolling them in obedience training classes will help instill discipline and ensure they respond well to commands.

Care and Maintenance

Caring for a Rottweiler or a Boerboel is primarily about meeting their physical and mental needs.

Grooming and Hygiene: Both breeds have short coats, which make grooming relatively easy. Weekly brushing and occasional baths should suffice. Keep an eye on their ears, nails, and teeth as part of their hygiene routine.

Exercise: Rottweilers have medium energy levels, whereas Boerboels are known for their very high energy. Therefore, both dogs require daily exercise. Keep in mind that young Rottweilers and Boerboels should have limited high-impact activities to prevent potential joint issues.

Dog BreedExercise Needs
BoerboelVery High

Diet: Ensure a well-balanced diet, including high-quality kibble, meat, and vegetables. Consult a veterinarian to determine the ideal diet specific to your dog’s age, weight, and activity levels.

Living Space: Both Rottweilers and Boerboels are large dogs that require spacious living environments. Boerboels, being huge dogs, need an ample amount of room to move around. An adequately fenced yard is preferable to keep them comfortable and secure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which breed is larger – Rottweiler or Boerboel?

Rottweilers typically have a height of 22-27 inches and a weight of 80-140 pounds, while Boerboels are generally larger with a height of 22-27 inches and a weight of 150-200 pounds.

How do their temperaments compare?

Both Rottweilers and Boerboels are known for their confidence and loyalty. Rottweilers are loving and generally have a medium energy level, while Boerboels, on the other hand, are more assertive, intelligent, and possess very high energy levels.

What are the differences between a Boerboel and a Pitbull?

A significant distinction between Boerboels and Pitbulls is their size, with Boerboels being substantially larger than Pitbulls. Boerboels are also more assertive and independent, whereas Pitbulls are typically more affectionate and people-oriented. Additionally, Boerboels have a stronger guarding instinct, making them better suited for protection roles.

What are some traits of Boerboel Rottweiler mix puppies?

Boerboel Rottweiler mix puppies inherit characteristics from both parent breeds. This means they are likely to have a strong build, high energy levels, and traits such as loyalty, protectiveness, and intelligence. The exact combination of traits will vary for each individual puppy.

Can Rottweiler and Boerboel breeds mix?

Yes, the Rottweiler and Boerboel breeds can mix, producing offspring known as Boerboel Rottweiler mixes. These mixed-breed dogs will inherit traits from both parent breeds, which might result in a unique combination of characteristics.

Is a Boerboel suitable as a family dog?

A Boerboel can be a suitable family dog if properly socialized and trained from a young age. Due to their size and assertiveness, they do best with experienced pet owners who can provide consistent training, boundaries, and socialization. They can be protective and loyal to their family but might require supervision around young children and other pets.

Latest articles

Leave a Comment